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Study: SSRIs May Increase Chance of Death for Breast Cancer Patients

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Dublin, IrelandA recent study in the Irish Medical Times found a potentially serious SSRI side effect -- an increased risk of mortality among breast cancer patients.

The study looked at the medical records of female residents in Ontario, Canada who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1993 and 2005, and treated with tamoxifen, a drug typically used to treat breast cancer.

The study identified 24,430 women who were at least 66 years old who had been taken tamoxifen. Of those, about 30 percent also took antidepressants at some point while they were also taking tamoxifen. Many received more than one SSRI during their tamoxifen therapy.

When those were excluded, a total of 2,430 women were found to have taken tamoxifen and paroxetine, an SSRI. The study found that increases of 25 percent, 50 percent and 75 percent of the amount of time on the SSRI increased the risk of death by 24 percent, 54 percent and 91 percent, respectively.

According to the Irish Medical Times, similar risks for other non-SSRI antidepressants were not found.

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